I absolutely enjoyed this film--it was a great pleasure! One of the best films I've watched in a while. Although it's nice to be able to freely watch this movie, I think it's quite unfortunate for great classics like this to fall into the free public domain.
As I type this out, I am also doing a little reading on IMDb about this movie and I see there were a lot of difficulties and doubts in making it! However, It Happened One Night is considered to be the first "screwball comedy" and it is the first film to win the "Grand Slam" at the Oscars--Best Picture, Best Actor, Best Actress, Best Director, and Best Screenplay. It also has quite a high rating on IMDb--8.3/10 stars! IMDb also provides a lot of other interesting facts and trivia about the making of this movie (link placed at the end of this post).
According to IMDb, Ms. Colbert was a tad bit difficult to work with, but regardless of that--I think Clark Gable (as Peter Warne) and Claudette Colbert (as Ellen "Ellie" Andrews) made a perfect team. There comedic chemistry and budding on-screen friendship really had me on pins and needles--anxiously awaiting that "spark" between them to fly. They definitely went back and forth throughout the film, but that's sort of the foundation of most romantic comedies. Even when the arguing began and could sometimes seem a bit threatening (but humorous, as only a 1930s comedy could do) on Mr. Gable's part, you never wanted to see them apart. I love them as a team and I plan on looking to see if there are any other films with them together.
I also loved the relationship between Ellie and her father, played by Walter Connolly. It was absolutely heartwarming and genuine. You'll especially feel this as it nears the end.
The film is also ingeniously written (Robert Riskin wrote the screenplay)--from Gable and Colbert's snappy tiffs to the "causes and effects" of each situation that basically made the storyline.
If you enjoy a great romantic comedy--I highly recommend this film! I'd also like to add that the end to this film definitely made my jaw drop! Let's just say this--the infamous Hays Code clearly had not yet been enforced!
Trivia: Did you know that Clark Gable inspired Bugs Bunny's carrot-chewing stance and overall "coolness" in this film? Check out this Youtube video with the scene:
If you'd like to see the film online
This film IS in Free Public Domain